Accessibility at UCF
What is accessibility?
Accessibility refers to the design of physical and digital environments in ways that make them accessible to all people, including people with disabilities. What accessibility really comes down to is ensuring that all people have access to the same information and experiences from the start without needing to make modifications or accommodations. Some examples of accessibility in physical environments can include curb cuts in sidewalks, push button door openers, ramps, and the use of microphones by speakers. Some examples of accessibility in digital environments can include alternative text for images, captioning for videos, appropriate color contrast, and the use of headings in text.
Why is accessibility important?
Accessibility touches every part of UCF, including public events that are held on campus. When we ensure that our physical and digital environments are accessible, we create a more welcoming and inclusive campus for all people. When students are making decisions about the university they want to attend, they often look for accessibility. When community members attend events on our campus, they often notice accessibility. As we strive to make UCF a more welcoming environment, it’s important that accessibility is a priority.
When environments are not accessible, people with disabilities do not have the opportunity to fully participate in the same way as their non-disabled peers. UCF has a legal obligation to ensure that we do not discriminate against people with disabilities, and part of that obligation includes making sure our environments are accessible.
The idea of accessibility can sometimes feel like a moving target as technology changes and our society becomes more inclusive. It’s important to remember that no one expects you to be perfect and have all the accessibility solutions. What’s important is that you are working towards creating a more accessible space where people feel included from the first time they interact with you, whether that is in your physical or digital space.
How UCF is creating a more accessible and inclusive campus?
To further support ensuring accessibility at the university, UCF has created a new position in the Office of Institutional Equity. The new position, the Deputy ADA Coordinator for Digital Accessibility and Universal Design, will assist with centralizing our accessibility efforts on campus. There are so many departments on campus conducting great accessibility work already. Our goal is to highlight that work and help everyone share their knowledge and resources.
Be on the lookout for more information in the coming months regarding accessibility initiatives! Creating an accessible campus is everyone’s responsibility, so the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) is working with campus partners to create a plan to continue to move the needle forward on accessibility at UCF. Our goal at OIE is to identify and build campus resources that we all can utilize through this accessibility journey. You can expect to hear more about initiatives, training sessions, and possible resources for our campus community in the future. In the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to our new Deputy ADA Coordinator, Kristeena LaRoue, at (407) 823-1336 or Kristeena.LaRoue@ucf.edu. Also, if you are a student with a disability and in need of an accommodation, please contact Student Accessibility Services at (407) 823-2371 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an employee with a disability and in need of an accommodation, please contact OIE at (407) 823-1336 or email@example.com.